Data technology is developing at a skyrocketing rate but policy and ethics conversations are struggling to catch up, as does public understanding of the ways their data is increasingly collected and used by public and private entities. DATAPRINT blends theater, music, dance, and multimedia to spark dialogue about data privacy, about the ways in which our online behavior defines who we are, and about the implications of an increasingly data-driven world on society and on democracy. The project is being developed by a core creative team of performing artists, designers, developers, and video game writers, in collaboration with computer science specialists, data analysts, privacy economics, and digital and human rights experts.

DATAPRINT: THE INSTALLATION, the first initiative of the project, presents audiences the impact of their online fingerprint through a multimedia installation that brings to life the visualization of their data activity. Actors in the role of an imagined technology company’s employees invite audiences to use a friendly app and create their personal avatars based on their virtual habits and online conduct. They then watch it navigate an abstracted online world only to discover that their data has been collected to be used by an algorithm beyond their control. In the meantime, an actor portraying a whistleblower-turned-protester challenges the audience to ponder questions about data privacy. At regular intervals, dancers mingle with the visitors and a dance performance, inspired by the data flow, is performed, ‘emerging’ from the projected simulation to allude to the invisible yet constantly evolving nature of the online world.

DATAPRINT: THE INSTALLATION premiered simultaneously at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, and at the Cubbon Park Metro Station in central Bangalore, two key cities in the USA and India silicon valleys respectively, in September 2018.

In addition to the kind support from The Puffin Foundation, DATAPRINT has to date partnered with and/or  received support from Adobe, After Tomorrow, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Arts In Transit Festival of Stories #8, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (in association with the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative), the French Ministry of Culture, HermanMiller Cares, Le Lieu Unique, Montalvo Arts Center, Princeton University, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, The Tech Museum of Innovation, and the U.S. Consulate General Chennai.

Photo: Casey Ruiz